Sony has announced that it is to postpone the launch of its virtual world, dubbed Home, until sometime next year. After presumably experiencing development problems with the Second Life-style PS3 virtual world, it is now expected to launch in early 2008.

"This is going to be a worldwide service that needs to offer a wide range of functions required in Japan, in the US, in Europe and in Asia," SCE chief executive Kazuo Hirai said in a keynote speech at the Tokyo Game Show 2007. "We aim to launch this as something that can meet expectations of people all over the world."

Home on hold

Home is a real-time, online, 3D networked community, and will be available for free on the PlayStation Network. It will enable PS3 users to interact, communicate, join online games, shop, share private content, and even build and show off their own personal spaces to others in real time.

The community was officially announced during a keynote by Phil Harrison, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March.

Home is seen as an important part of Sony's PS3 masterplan and so the quality-control delay will definitely disappoint those gamers who've already bought the console.

Low key launch

Earlier this month, in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Sony's Jamie MacDonald said that the release of Home would be a low-key affair, following an invite-only public beta.

"One of the challenges that we have is to get over the mentality of Home being your typical product launch," said MacDonald.

"In the past we'd make a game, put it on a disc and launch it in the shops. But this is so different.

"It's a constantly evolving thing. Week by week and month by month it evolves. There isn't going to be this 'big bang' launch. That's how you do it in the Web 2.0 world, if you're familiar with the launch of Gmail or something like that."